The next time you’re thinking of selling a solution as robust as Valerie Adams, as agile as Israel Dagg or as hybrid as Lydia Ko’s Callaway X2 Hot 5, take a second to stop and think…
“We all have a list of words and phrases that we wish, for the love of all that’s good and pure, would mercifully go away,” says Jake Sorofman, Gartner research analyst and all-round hater of hyperbole.
“Paradoxically, it’s often the fact that these words and phrases are essentially right that, with time, makes them so deadly wrong—and deadly dull.”
Taking to his popular blog as the calendar year approaches its end, Sorofman looks back at some of the words and phrases that entered cringe territory in 2014.
To source this list, Sorofman consulted his Gartner colleagues—who, needless to say, generally have a fairly deft ear for hyperbole.
By unscientific quorum, here are the words that reached the heights of hackney in 2014:
“Oh, how we love our Big Data,” Sorofman mocks. “The promise of precision insight delivered and action dispensed in the moment stirs our imaginations.
“But more enlightened marketers know they have their share of small data challenges to contend with before they can harvest such big data dreams. With marketing data, bigger isn’t necessarily better.”
“The prefix “omni” means all things, ways or places,” Sorofman explains.
“That, in and of itself, is perhaps the first issue with this term. It suggests bringing the seven seas to something of a rolling boil. The second issue is the frequency with which it’s strutted out these days.”
“If you ever want to raise the hackles of my otherwise unflappable colleague Mike McGuire, tell him you’ve adopted a mobile first strategy,” Sorofman adds.
“He’ll tell you that this phrase only serves to perpetuate mobile as a discrete channel rather than an integrated part of your strategy.
“Stop the madness. Mike thanks you.”
“OK, this one may get me in some trouble with more than a few folks,” Sorofman admits, “but you can’t deny the heat and light surrounding digital business these days.
“It hasn’t yet jumped the shark, but keep an eye out for Fonzie circling on waterskis.*”
“A close cousin of Big Data is real time,” Sorofman explains, “the practice of capturing lightening in a bottle at scale by engaging customers—or even buying media—in the moment.
“But the moments that count don’t always materialize this way. Think right time before real time.”
In keeping with Kiwi spirit, what’s the worst ICT buzzword of 2014? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below
(*) If this was a perplexingly obscure reference, perhaps you missed the infamous episode of Happy Days where Henry Winkler’s character “the Fonz” jumped over a shark on waterskis. That moment, it’s widely thought, was the show’s nadir—from which it never quite recovered.